Gainesville at Apalachee preview

Apalachee’s Jody Mathis

Apalachee’s Jody Mathis

Gainesville Red Elephants (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Bruce Miller

Record: 2-1, 1-0 region

Last week: Beat Winder-Barrow 68-0

Apalachee Wildcats (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Shane Davis

Record: 0-2, 0-0 region

Last week: Did not play

The Wildcats’ defense will definitely have its hands full this week facing record-setting, Clemson-bound quarterback Deshaun Watson, plus other weapons like receiver Jay Gaudlock and running back Michael Byrd.

But as Apalachee coach Shane Davis points out, the Red Elephants feature an abundance of talent across the board.

“Just those guys alone is a lot to prepare for,” Davis said. “But their defense is overlooked a little. They’ve got some good guys on the defensive side, as well.”

Davis and his staff spent last week’s open date not only trying to prepare for Gainesville, but also to make some corrections and build up confidence the young Wildcats.

And for that, they have turned to a handful of experienced veterans like running back/defensive back Jody Mathis to provide the leadership for younger teammates.

“When you’re as young as we are, we’re still making some mistakes, and we’ve got to fix those things first,” Davis said. “It’s so hard to simulate the speed of the game (that Gainesville will bring) to them. So, we’ve got to have a little more focus.

“Right now, we’ve got five kids who have ever played on Friday night (before this season). We’ve got to grow up in a hurry.”

Last meeting: Gainesville won 62-20 last year

Directions to Apalachee High School: From Ga. Highway 316 East, turn right on Patrick Mill Rd. Take first left. Go to 4-way stop and turn left onto Haymon Morris Rd.; school is on the right.